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4/1/2017 3:05 PM
 

This is a response to my younger brother, who asked "are expensive knives worth the cost?" I thought I'd post it here - it might help someone, or maybe I missed something or got something wrong that someone can point out. Or if you approach the idea differently, share. 

There's like a half dozen things that go into price differences in knives. First is steel, then steel quality, then tempering. Cheap knives use cheap steal and shitty tempering. Less cheap knives use better steel, but maybe not as high quality (think imperfections or blemishes). Even less cheap knives have more accurate tempering processes, or even differential heat treating (I assume you know what this is and why it is good for a knife). So right there, you suddenly have a $100 ESEE or TOPS. 
Next step that adds price? Made in America. Boom. Big uptick. (Actually maybe that's where ESEE/TOPs are, I don't know.). 
Next step up is when you hit things like LT Wright - the blanks are milled, but each knife is hand ground, hand sharpened, and hand polished (mostly using machines, but a person is holding one blank and doing the work using jigs). 
Next step up is handle material.   Cheaper material (micarta), cheaper price. More expensive material (or more difficulty in using it - wood handles shrinking, cracking, etc etc) adds cost. Shaping handles at this point starts to add some too. 
Next step up is what it comes with - cheap plastic sheaths (ESEEs) or nice kydex sheaths (TOPS) or leather, or quality of leather.
I don't want to say the last step up but it's the last one I'll mention is reputation and design. You pay more for a Barkie than an LT partly because there's a reputation - Barkies are huge. You also pay more for access to certain designs, or the variety of options. 

But at a certain point, there's a diminishing return on investment (a $100 knife is gobs better than a $15 one, but a $200 is a half a gob better than the $100 one, and the $300 knife is a quarter gob better yet again). There's also what you pay for: is it worth an extra $50-100 for a particular handle material? This is subjective. Does it improve the function of the knife? No. 

So if the difference between your $200 and $300 knife is a handle material and a 1/2" longer blade, is it worth it? That's 100% subjective. Oh part of that difference is we switched from A2 to CPM? Well that's not subjective - CPM is a little more rust/corrosion resistant AND dulls slower. Oh what about Elmax? Well that's stainless steel, with awesome edge retention. Maybe suddenly worth it if you live in or operate in a humid or tropical environment - your A2 would be dull and rusted (rust also dulls a knife, and O1 will dull just sitting in a humid environment) long long long before an Elmax blade. Oh there's an $80 difference between that Elmax and that A2 for the same knife with micarta scales and you live in Florida? Probably worth it. 

Oh you want to buy a $100 ESEE? 1095? Coated? But you're in Florida? Well, it'll rust. The coating will wear off with use, and there's no coating on the actual edge which means you STILL need it oiled and you'll need to strop the edge more often.

Now there's frequency of use too, and pride of ownership. You use your knife once a year? Screw the $300 Elmax steel knife, buy a $15 stainless mora. It'll do whatever you'd use the other one for. (This was more for him than the average Joe.) Oh but you want something pretty to look at the other 364 days and you're willing to pay the extra $275 for  a decoration? That's cool too.

 

- J

 
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4/1/2017 11:20 PM
 
ESEE is made in America. And they have a stainless version of the 4. Beckers are made in the US also, I believe.

Only the buyer can determine whether or not the knife is worth it. I spent a long time using a Gerber Big Rock Camp Knife, and while people trash talk Gerber knives, that thing lasted through everything I did with it.
 
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4/2/2017 12:59 AM
 
I'll submit my two cents just because I've been around the knife-block two or three dozen times. I used to be a member of the Usual Suspect Network (technically still am, but I don't get on there very often, guess I've moved on somewhat). The Usual Suspect Network is the most prestigious knife-club that I'm aware of. We're talking like dozens of impossible to get $1000 dollar plus knives changing hands everyday. endless discussion about knives, and endless knife oogling.

Knives can be very addicting, but GoKartz is right, there comes a definite point of diminishing returns, and it all depends on what your intended use is, and your desire for "second-kind-of-cool" to quote an over-rated youtuber. Nutnfancy is a goober, but I like watchin him. His first and second kind of cool philosophy is particularly applicable to knives. Basically:
First kind of cool= it's actual ability to do things in the real world.
Second kind of cool= how much it turns you on, how nifty and neato it is to you.

I can tell you from personal experience that my $1400 Munroe Basilisk, or my $500 Strider SNG didn't do anything that my $180 Spyderco Paramilitary 2 doesn't. In fact the super folders had a major disadvantage: they were expensive and irreplaceable, thus discouraging you from actually using them. All 3 are/were S30V, all three were tempered very well. All 3 have/had G10 handles.

On the other hand, many would argue that my $180 Spyderco PM2, or my $180 Benchmade 940 are extremely expensive, and don't offer much over a $40 Spyderco Tenacious. To that I would say that they actually do offer something, namely better steel, better action, and better handle materials. For me, that's worth the difference.


Moral of this long and rambling story? no harm in buying enough for the job knife, or a knife that really does it for you, but learn from my bad experience, don't get so swept into the second-kind-of-cool that you lose your mind and buy super-knives. For the most part, they aren't worth it.

I still like expensive knives. I'm particularly enamored with Adventure Sworn knives these days, and I've become a big believer in the scandi-grind. Does my Adventure Sworn do anything that a nice Helle, or even a Mora Bushcraft Black won't? probably not, but it's got a lot of second-kind-of-cool for me, and in this case, it's worth it.

P.S. Tops Knives are made in Idaho.

P.P.S. Scandi ground knives are typically a lot lighter (and in my mind far more capable and more easily sharpened and maintained) than the big hunks of 1095 that ya'all seem to prefer! ;)

 
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4/2/2017 9:22 AM
 
Chorpie - thanks for adding that. I was too lazy to look up where Esees were made. And I love my "cheap" folder - an Ontario RAT II, a $30 AUS 8. I lose pocket knives way too often (including gifts and expensive ones) and have settled on this one for its size, cost, and my ability to strop it to hair-popping sharp easily. Maybe a more expensive knife would require less edge maintenance, but I can't afford to replace a mini griptillian (for example) two times a year. I've even used my rats for "bushcraft" or wood craft and skinning as well as general utility work and it does an admirable job. Honestly, the biggest reason I moved away from Esees is that I could never seem to get them sharp enough, compared to what I could do with my other knives. (And I'm sure that's 100% my inadequacies and peculiarities.)

Shrubj - I had no idea such a club existed! I honestly can't imagine spending that kind of money on a knife, or what you're getting for it. I think in my last comment - the $275 for a decoration the other 364 days you don't use it - is that second kind of cool, where you are essentially buying a piece of art (that is also occasionally useful). I only own two "expensive" knives (over $100), one is a small Barkie that is rarely used and the other an LT Wright that is used relatively often and is by far my favorite knife to use - O1, Scandi, slices wood like butter and sharpens easily (and stays sharp nicely). For me it is a perfect balance, although I can understand buying a more expensive knife in a nice stainless for more humid environments (the Smokies are not kind to O1, and I can only imagine what would happen further South). But I also have a couple Moras and love them, and sometimes I get torn - the $15 Mora can basically do everything my $180 LT can do, so... Why did I spend the money? I know WHY LTs are more expensive, but sometimes I don't see the benefits... And the I take Gary into the woods and all is made (W)right.

- J
 
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4/2/2017 7:36 PM
 
I have a bunch of different brands, I used to have a lot of ESEE knives, and Becker knives, but all i'm left with is a stainless ESEE-4 and an ESEE-6 in desert tan that was a group buy, a single Fiddleback, some Gerber, a bunch of Moras and SAKs. They're all scattered among different bags and such. Being in CA, I can't really carry fixed blades without getting side-eye unless i'm hunting.

So.. I carry a Zero Tolerance 566 (which I absolutely love). In my opinion though, in terms of cost for performance, I don't think you can go wrong with a Kershaw Link ($35) or a Kershaw Cryo II ($30). My daily carry knife is either the ZT566 or the Kershaw Link.

 
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4/3/2017 9:54 AM
 
GoKartz wrote:
Honestly, the biggest reason I moved away from Esees is that I could never seem to get them sharp enough, compared to what I could do with my other knives. (And I'm sure that's 100% my inadequacies and peculiarities.)

 

that's funny because it's the opposite for me. My esee's are the only knives I CAN reliably sharpen.  My list of can't is topped by Benchmades.  for whatever reason I can't get a dang benchmade sharp to save my life.  LOL

 
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4/3/2017 1:00 PM
 
Wilas - I found the bench mades to be a pain to sharp on stones, but doable. Stropping them is my preferred method, or using some sandpaper glued to a mousepad glued to a piece of wood (cheap and dirty way to sharpen most knives, actually). I've come to love the scandi like Shrubjr, partly because its so easy to strop or to sharpen freehand.

- J
 
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4/4/2017 1:50 PM
 
The reality is that like most things correct technique is more important than anything else, and any sharp piece of steel you can get a good grip on will get the job done. From there it is largely personal preferences, but in some cases I think you get what you pay for. The two things I am will to pay for are durability/reliability which really comes down to how the blade was designed and put together and also my choices of blade steels. I have a very strong preference for tool steels and the tougher stainless steels (ATS34, A2, D2, S30V, etc..) simply because I have found they hold an edge longer through more use. I also don't find them very hard to keep touched up, but the fact that I have to do it far less often is nice. Time is a precious finite commodity.

My pockets knives for the last ~15 years have been Emersons. I started with an airline legal commmader, back when you could do that kind of things and I guess it was a couple of years latter that ended and I moved on to a Utecom simply because it was big enough to fit my hand well. To be honest I was following Evan's leads both times. About 5-6 years latter I traded into one of the Bigger Commaders then available (they were previously), and have carried that since, so about 4 years now. After about 10 years Evan's Utecom was finally ready for a bit of love, and as a temporary thing he started carrying my Utecom, and a couple of years latter still is. That means between us we have a lot of years on really 3 knives. Prior to that I went through 3-4 Benchmades and a Boker, which was really kind of what was available then. They were good for a about a year or year an a half before they needed serious work due to loosening up, and that was just daily carry and use. I know plenty of folks who have gotten years of good use out of a Benchmade, but I am not in that group. I have gotten year of use out of Emerson's so paying the extra 50-10 was well worth it for me. Now I would probably start looking at ZT first and then Emerson based on some reports I have heard.

Gotta run, I will try to add more later.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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4/4/2017 3:25 PM
 

Scot....since any good, sharp piece of steel will get the job done, I've got a really sharp Ontario RD-6 that I'll trade with ya fer that Randall!  No?  ;-)


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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4/4/2017 3:47 PM
 
Are you saying you have to have a Randall to get the job done, or that the Ontario isn't capable? Sure the Randall is a nicer knife than the Ontario asthetically and perhaps in other ways (maybe steel and handle shape?), but aesthetics don't cut. It is silly to think a Randall is required to accomplish cutting tasks or somehow more capable if both are sharp. Kind of like thinking you need a 2-3k Glock or 1911 to have an accurate, effective, reliable carry handgun. After a certain price point you are paying for name and features. I also think due to the steel used and the slightly thinner blade the Black Jack copy of my Randall you have is a better knife and at a much better price point. You will notice you hardly ever see me using the Randall.

As to trading vs use that is apples to oranges. The Randall for a variety of reasons is worth more, mainly due to asthetics and name, and not functionality. Due to when, how, why I bought the Randall, and how many miles I have carried it I won't sell or get rid of it anytime soon. Would I buy it again? Nope, even though I paid far less than they currently go for, because I can get knives of higher quality in the things I value, and in quit a few cases for cheaper.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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4/4/2017 4:11 PM
 
scothill wrote:
Are you saying you have to have a Randall to get the job done, or that the Ontario isn't capable? Sure the Randall is a nicer knife than the Ontario asthetically and perhaps in other ways (maybe steel and handle shape?), but aesthetics don't cut. It is silly to think a Randall is required to accomplish cutting tasks or somehow more capable if both are sharp. Kind of like thinking you need a 2-3k Glock or 1911 to have an accurate, effective, reliable carry handgun. After a certain price point you are paying for name and features. I also think due to the steel used and the slightly thinner blade the Black Jack copy of my Randall you have is a better knife and at a much better price point. You will notice you hardly ever see me using the Randall.

As to trading vs use that is apples to oranges. The Randall for a variety of reasons is worth more, mainly due to asthetics and name, and not functionality. Due to when, how, why I bought the Randall, and how many miles I have carried it I won't sell or get rid of it anytime soon. Would I buy it again? Nope, even though I paid far less than they currently go for, because I can get knives of higher quality in the things I value, and in quit a few cases for cheaper.

Geez!  It was just a joke!


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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4/4/2017 4:52 PM
 
It's easy to turn wants into needs with knives, guns, and gear. It really does come down to a needs analysis and what you need the knife to consistently do. Hammering through helo doors and skinning a tomato require different material and design. It does warm by heart to see a knife (or gun) with some honest wear on it. I would bet a dollar that most high end knives (and guns) never see much use.

At some point Scot is gonna get me a homie hook-up for a Skookum Bush Tool from Rod Garcia. Maybe a Ban Tang Clinch Pick and matching Trainer. I do have a nice custom handled Damascus 210 Gyuto that will take quite an edge and pressed into service bones out deer and elk just fine.

For my knuckle-dragger needs a simple Mora hung around my neck with 550 cord and a spark rod held by innertube has sure skinned a mess of animals and build quite a few fires. My orange handled Spyderco Endura was used just this weekend to pay the insurance on a livestock predator. Not it's intended design but it worked. Would a Busse, Reeve's, ESEE, or Fallkniven F1 have worked better? I don't know.

Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
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4/4/2017 5:05 PM
 

Totally agree.  However, I must say that I do appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into well made knives.  I do not own a single one that has been a display piece.  Even though I've got lighter and more expensive ones, the Askari knives I've gotten from South Africa have really become my favorites just because they will put up with whatever I put them against, but at the same time are works of beauty and ergonomic comfort.  Plus, they were made by a friend...so that goes a long way with me.  The utilitarian in me loves how well they work, and the artist in me appreciates their aesthetics.  I don't mind spending some coin on a good blade, within reason.  I do have my favorite steels for most work....O-1, A-2, D-2, and CPM-3V rate high for me and my uses.  All that said...ain't nothin' wrong with an old USA made Buck 110 or a Case.


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4/5/2017 9:43 AM
 
I think Ken and Strow are kinda hitting on a similar thing, which is something I've been working with: cheap knives ("sharp piece of steel") often do the same job as more expensive knives, especially since more expensive knives are often left at home. I have no qualms carrying my $30 pocket knife and a $15 Mora almost literally everywhere I go (in TN knife laws are very lax, but there are a few restrictions), but I wouldn't necessarily carry a $300 Barkie. A lot of my wood work/carving/etc happens unplanned - I'm bored while grilling or visiting the inlaws, so I pull out my knife and find some wood and play. This usually results in significant more use with inexpensive knives. If I'm going for a camping or backpacking trip, sure, I'll grab a nicer knife, but unfortunately I do all too little of that and more often than not I use the knife I have, which is usually my cheapos.

But here's where expensive knives start to really make sense to me: edge retention and durability. I have no issue with stropping knives in the field or during use, but HAVING to do that less often is nice. Having your edge less likely to roll or chip is also nice. AUS8 rolls more often than it chips, and I've had plenty of 1095s chip on me. I like O1, but I have to strop it more often than my A2 (but less often that my AUS8). My O1 and even my A2 have a horrible tendency to rust overnight in TN if I use them and then don't coat them in oil. (This just happened with my A2 Barkie ... I used it yesterday, stropped it, and put it away. Took it out this morning and there was already rust sprouting, so I had to quickly clean that off and then oil it good. I had had a similar experience with O1 in the Smokies, but it rusted a lot more.) I have no experience with CPM 3V or super stainless steels, but I love the fact that my stainless Mora just... rides. Everywhere. With no maintenance or oiling.

I'm not capable to be able to really say my O1 sharpens easier or quicker or sharper than a Mora stainless, and I based on how I use them, I can't see much of a difference in practical sharpness. My Moras don't shave arm hair as easily as O1 (scandi) or A2 (convex) or 1095 (??), but I don't know if that has to do with my sharpening/stropping or blade geometry.

I know that I love pretty knives and that part of why I want to buy a Bark River over, say, a Mora is the looks. It is like buying a Camaro or a Civic - they both drive me to work just fine, but one costs a lot more and looks a lot better while doing it. A Camaro can do a lot more than a civic, but under most circumstances you get very little difference out of the two. For practical purposes, it is also very similar to selecting hunting rifles - do you need a 0.5MOA $3000 rifle, or will that 2MOA Marlin 336 do just fine when you're hunting white tails in the woods? Maybe driving civics and using bark rivers is the happy medium... Or maybe I should drive a Camaro and use Moras... But like Strow said, it is easy to turn wants into needs, so maybe the best situation is to drive a civic, use a mora, and get out there mora often.

- J
 
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4/5/2017 3:03 PM
 

I've made a pretty good effort to ensure just about every fixed blade knife I own gets rotated in for "real field time" under rough conditions.  All of these have proven themselves pretty much for me, but over time I've leaned on some more than others:

Barkie Bravo Necker 2, CPM 3V...goes almost everywhere and mostly rides attached to the bottom of my HRKB.  Also use it as a neck knife in some urban areas.  It is just big enough to be able to handle chores like batoning smaller stock.  It's up for just about anything else.

Koster Bushmaster (have 2), both CPM 3V...the first one has been in forest, jungle, and bush.  Very strong for how light it is and the anti-corrosion aspects of the steel wards off rust pretty well in wet environs.  The second one was given to me, but I haven't had occasion to use it out in the hills just yet.  Just about the perfect size with about a 5" blade and 5" handle.  Can't say much good about Koster's customer service and business methods, though.

Ambush Knives Alpha (BRK spin-off brand), CPM 3V...another good hard-use blade and it has become my standard one to take for jungle trips.  I can also use the pommel to hammer with in a pinch.

Blackjack #125 (poor man's Randall), A2...really a nice knife and feels great in hand, but the slim false edge on the spine makes it not the right choice for batoning and wood processing chores...it's a hunting knife, really.  However, I do love the full convex grind.  Easy to resharpen in the field and holds a keen edge for a good bit of time.

LT Wright Overland Machete, 1095 (I think)....good chopper and light enough to swing for a long time, but the G10 handle needs work....too smooth.  I need to get after it with a file and Dremel to add some texture to it.  Otherwise, good for jungle trips, as long as I wipe it down and apply some oil (usually carry a treated cloth with me).  It replaced the Condor Warlock I fixed up and modified (gave it away to a friend in Peru).

Askari Bush Knife (chopper), O1...love this thing.  It will sail through the toughest acacia branches like butter.  Also works great for processing firewood.  The African blackwood scales and handle shape are outstanding.  I carry this one often, but it stays at home for jungle trips because I don't want to take a chance on it rusting on me.

Askari Frontier Belt Knife, O1....another favorite, and I carry this one a lot for no other reason than just cuz'.  It will do anything I want it to and is razor sharp (I stropped it into a convex edge, as that is my favorite grind).

Askari Recce Knife, O1...just got this one given to me last year in South Africa.  Love it as well and it handles chores nicely...but it's more of a tactical knife.  I do love the blade shape and the handle is also wonderful.  Wouldn't hesitate to carry it and put it against any task, but I just have used the Frontier one more so far.

The Askaris are a bit heavier and thicker spined than some of my others, but I really don't mind the weight of them.  They are well balanced and execute work efficiently. I did DIY patina treatments on all of them with apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, and mustard to help with anti-corrosion.

For folders....I am usually carrying a ZT 0301, an Emerson / Multitasker EDC, or a Kershaw Leek.  I gave away an old Buck110 and Case Mini Folding Hunter to a buddy of mine for his grandsons.

My got-to mutlitool has hands-down become the Multitasker Series 3, D2....this thing is just a beast.  I have broken Leathermans and Gerbers....I don't think I could break the Multitasker even if I ran it over with my truck or threw it at a rock wall.  Even though it's heavy (about the same as a full-size, fully featured Leatherman), it is built for hard-use.  It is weapon-centric (ARs, Glocks, 1911s), but I have found plenty of uses for it in field settings, too.

None of these blades are cheap, but I never hesitate to take them along, even overseas.  I like being able to trust the blades I have with me to the point where I'm almost 100% certain they won't fail during hard use, so more often than not...they end up being a little more expensive, but I'm okay with that.  I also carry a small stropping kit and treated wipes to take care of them while out in the field.


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New Post
4/7/2017 12:37 PM
 
Alp -

Thanks for sharing your collection. I've never seen/heard of Askari knives, except for one post you made a while back about one you just got (big clip point, if I recall correctly). I've not had experience wth 3V, how do you like that compared to A2/O1/1095? I'm pretty familiar with using all three of those, but never had a chance to get my hands on 3V. Looking at prices, it seems that there's around a $40 difference from 3V to A2, which when you're dropping $150-200 on a knife can be (and has for me in the past) a deciding factor (budget constraints). 3V sounds good on paper, but so do a lot of things until they meet reality... Considering you listed 5 3Vs, I'd guess you like it.

I used to have a Buck Vantage (folder) back before they renamed it the Pro and had a cheaper Vantage. Really liked that knife. The clip screws would constantly come loose no matter what I did, and eventually... it disappeared. That's about when I picked up the Rat II, and though I still own a Vantage, I like the smallerness (not a word, but apt) of the Rat II.

My one Barkie is a beautiful Kalahari Bushman in A2. Its original purpose was as a skinner, which it does well, but it is also surprisingly good at everything I throw at it. I actually really like A2 and the convex they do - before it I was a solid 1095/O1 guy, who really loved his scandis. (Still do, but Bushy really made me appreciate A2 and the convex Barkie does... And their stropping-sharpening method I've fallen in love with, until I meet a V-grind and then oy vey that V-grind annoys me...)

I normally have a Leatherman Wave, but I use it so infrequently... I toyed with the idea of picking up a multitasker, but never could justify the price for a pair of pliers (about the only thing I use on the leatherman.)

How do you do your treated wipes? If I recall you're a little north of me, so I imagine the humidity can get to those O1s... What I normally do is put some olive oil on a paper towel and rub the knives down. Any tips or tricks you care to share?

- J
 
New Post
4/7/2017 1:37 PM
 

Well, J....in all honesty I don't reckon I know much more about how to care for my blades anymore than you do, but I often just take some of those Remoil wipes with me...the kind you get in the gun cleaning section of any Gander Mountain, Cabelas, or Bass Pro.  If I intend on using the knife on food....then I will use some Frog Lube on it (have a small container that's easily carried).  I quit using the stuff on my guns, because it is just horrible at that, IMO.  But...it works well as an anti-corrosion treatment and is safe around food.  

What I really like about CPM 3V is that it has many of the properties of a stainless steel..pretty danged resistant to moisture and corrosion, with good edge retention, while at the same time, fairly easy to sharpen in the field, like a carbon steel.  It will also allow me to throw spark off the spine of the blade (as long as it has nice 90 degree edges).  So, with those qualities...that is the steel I usually prefer to carry in the wet/humid areas I travel to.  Most CPM 3V blades are either satin finish or have some type of bead blasted finish...that steel really won't take a patina like a standard carbon steel will.

I do love my knives that are in O1/A2, etc., but I generally use those when I'm pretty certain I won't end up getting them wet, or have them exposed to a lot of moisture, even in the sheath.  I'm not a big fan of blade coatings, so for my knives that are made of O1 (like my Askaris), I forced the patina onto them with the vinegar and mustard.  That helps ward off a good bit of corrosion, without having a thick coating on the blade.  My buddy Anton in South Africa (owner of Askari knives) is sending me a new one soon, which he used a Gun Koat finish on.  We'll see how that one is.  If it's pretty thin, but tough...I will likely keep it as is.


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New Post
4/7/2017 6:00 PM
 
Hey Alp - that frog lube is interesting stuff. I've always been happy with CLP, but that's a good idea for lube. Might see if carrying an oz of that beats oil in my pack. I like to keep most of my knives capable of food prep so I usually avoid the used motor oil... I usually have some rem-oil wipes for my long guns, so that's a pretty good idea for a non-food knife, thanks.

I used likes on my O1, worked fairly well. Vinegar makes sense but... mustard? I feel like the Mad Hatter in the Alice in wonderland cartoon "mustard?! No not mustard... don't be silly!" I've had less luck getting s good patina on my A2 Barkie, so I may try your vinegar and *gulp* mustard recipe.

Incidentally, I started as a big knife guy (largely due to the youtuber NutnFancy's video on big ass knives), but have really grown to love small blades like my 3" Barkie. Great fun for carving and general work... I got bored the other day and was carving a stick, then got the idea to do a face... reminds of me of a luchador! [URL=http://s257.photobucket.com/user/jkartzinel/media/Mobile%20Uploads/0AAEDD36-B09D-4AA2-A0F6-6A199F600BAC.jpg.html]
[/URL]
 
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4/7/2017 7:21 PM
 

Pretty cool!


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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4/9/2017 3:36 PM
 
I like owning and using custom knives. I have a few one offs and prototypes that cost well into 4 figures and they all get used. For that price no I really can't say they perform that much better than a much cheaper knife. Living in the desert I dont have much need for a stainless knife, I store knives in their leather sheaths and have never had a rust issue. For my (limited) experience stainless doesnt hold an edge as long and is a bit more finicky to sharpen well. But with that said I generally stick to 01 so that is what I'm used to. I have a few knives in 3V that have been awesome. Not much harder to sharpen than 01 and man o man is 3v a tough steel that holds an edge well.
I have a few larger knives just because they are fun but they are mainly for car camping. I usually do just find with a 3.5-4" knife on my belt. Certainly it's not a huge chopper but a sturdy knife that size will easily handle cross batoning and the like.

I carry a Gossman UNK on my belt daily and living in a rural area have never had an issue. It's a very utilitarian looking knife (not a tactical style) and relatively small so I doubt most people even acknowledge it. I recently got a new one in 3V to replace the A2 model I had. It wont patina but Scott Gossman has posted pictures of several 3V knives that he has acid dipped for a darker color.
 
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